The New School: Saul Williams Vs. Trent Reznor

Following up on yesterday’s post, Trent Reznor Meets Real Life And Weeps:

Unlike Trent Reznor, Saul Williams isn’t disheartened

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I think it’s early in the game. I’m not disappointed at all. I think Trent’s disappointment probably stems from being in the music business for over 20 years and remembering a time that was very different, when sales reflected something different, when there was no such thing as downloads. Trent is from another school. Even acts that prospered in the ’90s, you look at people like the Fugees or Lauren Hill selling 18 million copies. That sort of thing is unheard of today. But Trent comes from that world. So I think his disappointed stems from being heavily invested in the past. For modern times, for modern numbers we’re looking great, especially for being just two months into a project.

This is must-reading for everyone interested in selling their work on the Internet.

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The lifespan of an album can be as long as two years or more. You look at something like The Beastie Boys’ first album, which sells a million copies every year. It’s nothing like a movie, so I think we’re doing great. We’re off to a running start. We still have a physical release date to look forward to. We still have touring to look forward to. We still have marketing and promotion that all starts this year, so I don’t regret anything. Not yet.

Williams has a great grasp on the long view — which is the only view worth having.

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And to me that’s the role of technology. Technology is here to free us from the grip of history. That’s why I’m thankful to the Internet. That’s why I’m thankful to this form of (music) release. Because in many ways it set me free.

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